Author: Eowyn77 PM
Edward got more experience resisting physical temptation while living in Alaska than Bella could ever imagine or would want to know. Written before the release of Eclipse, but otherwise true to canon.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Chapters: 11 - Words: 20,845 - Reviews: 169 - Favs: 204 - Follows: 34 - Published: 07-10-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3648326
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Three years later, I found myself speeding along the Alaska's Highway 3 in Carlisle's Mercedes, my throat on fire with thirst. I'd be at Tanya's house in half an hour. That devastating girl would be safe once I was there. What was once temptation would be my refuge. The monster roared within me, desperate now. I could still change my mind ...
The pedal was already floored, but I willed the black Mercedes to go faster yet through the deep winter night. The engine roared over those last hundred miles.
Irina was the one who opened the door, and she took in my black eyes with dismay. It's true, then! "Come in, Edward."
Carmen gave me a quick hug and Eleazar shook my hand. This girl has wholly rearranged him! He's incomplete!
Kate bounded across the room to throw her arms around me. "Of all the reasons to visit us, Edward. Honestly!" Then she leaned back, her eyes wistful. I'll keep you here, if you need me to.
I smiled wanly at her. "Thanks, Kate."
Tanya came to embrace me then. "Mrs. Cullen called twice. She's beside herself. What happened?"
"Think Thomas, but ten thousand times worse."
Her jaw slowly dropped as she remembered him — Thomas the monk with a brilliant mind and uniquely sweet blood. Ten thousand times? Compassion warmed her eyes. "Let's get you a bite to eat and then you can tell us more."
We went hunting, all six of us, under the clear, cold stars. I drank an entire pack of wolves, then dug out a hibernating grizzly and her cub. It wasn't exactly sporting, but I was desperate to quench the burning. I glutted myself with blood, until the thirst became the usual dull ache in my throat.
Only then could I tell them about it. We went back to the house and settled into the living room that Esme and Tanya had remodeled.
"Her name is Isabella Swan," I began. "She transferred in to the school, this shy little slip of a girl." I met Tanya's gaze. "Her mind is silent to me."
She searched my eyes. "Silent?" As in she doesn't think in words?
"As in, nothing. I can not hear or see into her mind at all."
A ripple of disbelief ran through the room. "But that's only the beginning. She shares a class with me, and the only available seat was the one right next to me."
Tanya's hand covered her mouth in horror. Edward, no.
"When I caught her scent," I tried not to remember the devastating power of it, "I was reduced to an animal — a predator."
"But she's still alive?" Kate asked hopefully. Right?
"Yes." And I drew a degree of comfort from that fact. "Impossibly so, but yes. I held my breath through the entire hour. I planned a thousand different ways to lure her away. I imagined myself stalking her to her home."
"You? Stalk a human?" Irina was astounded.
I gave her a sad smile. "Her scent completely overwhelmed me." I took a deep breath. "I tried. For Carlisle, I tried. I went to the school secretary to transfer out of our shared class, but that demon of a child followed me there. Only one witness, and there she was — drenched in rain, heart thundering, cheeks flushed with embarrassment..."
"Dios mio!" Carmen gave me a sick look. You're making me thirsty just thinking about it.
"I ran then," I confessed. "It was that or hunt her. I drove the others home, dropping them off on the roadside, but my car was almost out of gas. I didn't want to go back into town — she'd probably materialize beside the gas pump — so I switched cars with Carlisle and ran like every fiend in hell was after me."
I met their astonished gazes one by one. "And so I'm here."
"Safe and sound," Tanya declared, patting me reassuringly on the knee. "Speaking of which, there are three more messages, at least one of which will be from Mrs. Cullen. You'd better give her a call."
"Do you want the phone?" Carmen offered.
"No, I'll use my cell." I had turned it off before I left Forks.
"Don't wander far," Irina said softly. Even she understood that now was not the time.
"I'll just be on the back porch." As soon as I closed the door, their bewildered thoughts overflowed into a flurry of whispers. I blocked them out.
The phone hadn't even rung before Esme answered with an anxious, "Edward?"
She was frantic. "Where are you? What happened?"
"I'm at Tanya's house," I soothed. "I would have called you earlier, but I desperately needed to hunt."
"Alice says you almost killed a girl."
"Alice is right, as usual."
Then, her voice rough with emotion, she said, "You really scared me."
Even though she was out of range, I knew exactly what she was thinking. "I'm not going to disappear, Esme. I don't know what will happen now, but I promise you, I'm not going to do that to you again." Almost seventy years, and she still lived in terror of me leaving her and Carlisle.
"Come home, Edward."
I choked. "I can't."
"You can," she insisted. "You walked away from her once, you can do it again. You've already proven yourself strong enough."
"You don't know what you're asking of me."
"Perhaps not. But I miss you, Edward. We need you — all of us. You're stronger than this little child. Don't let her drive you away from the people who love you."
I didn't want to argue with her. "I'll think about it. I'll call you tomorrow while the others are at school, unless something else comes up."
"Very well. Oh! Carlisle wants to talk to you."
I waited with dread while the phone passed hands. "Edward?"
There was a pause. "I'm proud of you."
Warmth spread through me. "Thanks."
"See you soon. Hopefully," he amended.
"Soon," I promised and closed the phone.
I leaned my forearms on the porch railing, staring up at the stars. It was often overcast here, but tonight, the sky was clear. The constellation Orion the Hunter wheeled above me with Lepus the Hare cowering at his feet. Hunter and prey — mine was a battle etched in the heavens themselves.
Tanya's mind drew nearer and she opened the door. He left his own family for fear of this puny little human girl. She rested her head on my shoulder. "Evening, handsome."
I could hear the smile in her voice. "Come here often?"
"Just when fleeing from puny little human girls." I smiled when she chuckled.
Her fingers trailed up my arm. "You really shouldn't get yourself so worked up, Edward. There are a host of ways you can resolve this — without harming the innocent female."
"You didn't catch her scent."
"No," she agreed, "I didn't. But think about it, Edward. You could simply stay here with us. You could go to places you've never seen before. You could go to the Old World, and you wouldn't have to go alone — I'd take you there." Her voice in my ear was low, seductive. "I could take you places you've only imagined."
I gave her a gentle, reproving look. "Where I would have to stand in line."
"Oh no, pet, I'd jump you to the front of the line."
I turned, leaning my back against the railing and crossing my arms. "You know how I feel," I answered — feeling annoyed and just a tiny bit flattered. "I'd have to be the end of the line too."
Stubborn! Her finger traced my jaw. "I suppose so." She stood on her tiptoes, her cool breath in my ear. "Still, can't blame a girl for wishing." She kissed my cheek then leaned away. "So. What happens now?"
"Now? Now I've got to find a way to not rip her throat open for five full months."
"Edward." In her imagination, all three of them surrounded me — kissing me, touching...
Glaring, I shook her shoulders before she could get much further, but her smile was smug. See, pet? You're stronger than you realize. What's some puny little human girl next to all three of us?
I looked down. "If only it were that simple."
"It is." She lifted my chin with her finger and her eyes held me transfixed. "It is. Hunger and thirst are intertwined, or love and bloodlust as Carlisle might put it. Eleazar thinks..."
"Yes." I cut her off impatiently. "I know."
"Then you know all you need to," she answered curtly. "You are stronger than you realize." She turned and went back inside. More's the pity.
I looked again to the stars, so clear and bright here, away from civilization. Could Tanya be right? Could I be as firm against the temptation of Bella's blood as I was against the advances of Tanya and her sisters? Orion and the Hare, they pivoted around a single, immovable point in the heavens. Compassion had been Carlisle's pole star for centuries, and he alone had held firm against temptation. Did I have that kind of love within me?
I drew a deep breath of the clean night air. There was only one way to find out.